A lecturer in the Department of Economics of University of Benin, Prof. Hassan Oaikhenan, has said that the National Bureau of Statistics must be empowered to do its job independently.
Oaikhenan made the call during interview with journalists in Awka yesterday
He explained that the call had become imperative “because Nigeria still has cases of political statistics and ministers inflation rate. What we have remains in the realm of academics.’’
Oaikhenan called for a more professional approach to data gathering in the country contended that although data gathering and sharing had been evolving in Nigeria, not much had been achieved in terms of using them for planning.
He said a major problem of statistical data in Nigeria was that it was often designed to conform to the expectations of governments at the various levels.
“Our statistical data is making progress but there are still deficiencies. As it is now, we do not know our population; its distribution, our data on manpower planning and planning without facts.
“What we have remains in the realm of academics. The National Bureau of Statistics must be empowered to do its job independently, because we still have the cases of political statistics and minister’s inflation rate.
“These are not healthy. That is why our statistics on unemployment, poverty, literacy and other indices are not the same with what we see on ground, we need real data to do effective planning”, he said.
On his part, Mr Ifeanyi Izuchukwu, Statistician General of Anambra State, said Nigeria had a lot to celebrate regarding the contribution of statistical data to national development.
Izuchukwu said the awareness on statistics was growing the country as many states had enacted laws establishing statistics bureaux.
The statistician, however, held that the attitude to divulging useful information for data generation was still poor among the people.
He decried the misconception that survey questions were meant to elicit information that will increase the burden of taxation on them.
Izuchukwu said that availability and accuracy of data will expose the areas of specific and special needs and engender fact-based planning for national progress and development.
Nigeria joins the United Nations to mark the 5th edition of World Statistics Day on October 20.